Improving the planning and regulation of processions

Action to ensure safe and peaceful assembly.   

New proposals to improve the planning and regulation of public processions and marches are to be introduced to uphold the rights of safe and peaceful assembly. 

An Action Group, set up to consider how to better facilitate processions, has set out six recommendations in a newly published report, which have been accepted by the Scottish Government, the local authority group COSLA, and Police Scotland. 

The recommendations include: 

  • extending a pilot programme - following successful evaluation in April 2024 - to train stewards and marshalls to build their capacity to plan, prepare and manage processions and other forms of public gathering in a safe way 
  • developing a minimum standard for information provided on the notification process for processions
  • providing consistent information on local authority websites that ensures transparency and confidentiality
  • statutory organisations, including local authorities, Police Scotland and the Scottish Government, to work together so information they provide relating to marches is clear and easy to understand
  • developing or improving training packages for local authority officials and elected members to enable the sharing of good practice to facilitate peaceful public processions and on how to protect human rights
  • consideration of an annual review mechanism that contributes to the sharing of best practice and learning of the management of processions. 

Community Safety Minister Siobhian Brown said:  

“The Scottish Government established the Action Group to ensure that processions are conducted safely and peacefully across the country. I am grateful to the members of the group for these carefully considered recommendations, which represent the culmination of extensive work by partners. 

“The freedom of peaceful assembly is a cornerstone of a democratic society and it is vital that the right training, planning and regulations are in place so processions run smoothly, while ensuring those attending and surrounding communities are kept safe. 

 “In accepting the recommendations of the Action Group’s report in full, what is clear is that achieving success must be a joint endeavour. We will work with Police Scotland, COSLA and members of the Group to implement the recommendations as quickly as possible.” 

A COSLA spokesperson said:  

“COSLA has worked collaboratively with the Scottish Government and Police Scotland through the Action Group on Processions, to work through the conclusions and recommendations of the Report for the Short Life Working Group on Facilitating Peaceful Assembles.  In April, the COSLA Community Wellbeing Board endorsed the recommendations of the Action Group, and COSLA Officers will continue to work with partners of the group to deliver these actions.” 

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said: 

“Police Scotland is a rights based organisation. We welcome this report as we continue to work with our communities and partners to continually improve our practices and the awareness and visibility of the rights of those who wish to take part in processions.” 


The Action Group on Processions considered the conclusions and recommendations of the Short Life Working Group on Processions in Scotland, as well as previous recommendations from work commissioned by the Scottish Government on processions. 

Report of the Action Group on Processions

Training is open to anyone facilitating or holding a procession or march. For further information or to express an interest in training, you can contact Centre for Good Relations. Email:


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